Bamboos are giant members of the grasses family and the fastest-growing plants in the world. There are over 1,200 species of bamboo. Bamboo can grow in any landscape including those that are considered degraded. It can grow in sandy, stony, and sometimes water-logged areas. On our farm, we have over 10 species of bamboo but the emphasis is more on green bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper) and Yellow Bamboo (Bambusa Vulgaris). Bamboo matures in about 3-5 years. Growing bamboo does not generally require fertilizers or pesticides as bamboo is resistant to most plant diseases.
Demand for bamboo
Many products can be made from bamboo. Some of these products though in small quantities are available in the Ugandan market which is an indication of untapped potential demand for bamboo products. On our farm, www.katubwevillagefarm.com, we have added value to bamboo and produced items including beds, chairs, tables, walking sticks, curtain bars holder, temporary crossing bridges, floating platforms, and food serving containers among others. Through our workshop, the farm is expected to generate some income from bamboo and also provide employment opportunities for the youth and the rural community. In addition, bamboo has protected the environment and created a conducive sanctuary for wildlife, especially the Weaver Birds.
Uses of bamboo
The bamboo on the farm has been used for the following among others;
- Building materials;
- Making temporary bridges;
- Making furniture;
- Fencing poles;
- Making food containers;
- Firewood and
- Food containers.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the bamboo plant has over 2,000 different uses.
We are currently experimenting to use bamboo for the following purposes;
- Introduce bamboo for food;
- Making charcoal;
- Making water containers;
- Walking sticks and
- Kitchen utensils
We face the following challenges in the growing of bamboo;
- Lack of seedlings of various species;
- Raising capital for growing and processing bamboo is a challenge;
- The government has not yet fully intensified its efforts in commercializing bamboo in Uganda;
- There is limited research knowledge on bamboo in Uganda;
- Lack of community awareness of the uses of bamboo and
- Government has yet to put in place advisory guidelines for growing bamboo and provide bamboo extension officers to advise farmers.
The action taken by the farm in addressing some of the above challenges include the following among others;
- The farm has produced over 1000 seedlings of yellow and green bamboo to make seedlings available to the farmers;
- Introduced giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) and other varieties on the farm to meet the demand for bamboo products;
- Embarked on value addition project to increase public awareness and
- The farm is continuously sharing information on bamboo with the local community and other stakeholders.
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